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Finland Takes Action: Expels Russian Diplomats and Shuts Down Consulate



Russia has withdrawn consent for Finland to operate its consulate in St. Petersburg and expelled nine Finnish diplomats, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced Thursday.

The decision was announced just days before NATO heads of state and government gather in Vilnius, Lithuania, for the alliance’s annual summit, which is to be followed by a visit to Finland by President Biden. Moscow’s decision also follows by about a month Finland’s announcement that it would expel nine Russian diplomats.

Although the expulsion of diplomats — nine for nine — appears to be a tit-for-tat move, the closing of the Finnish Consulate in St. Petersburg, a city not far from the Russia-Finland border, suggests an escalation designed to get the attention of Helsinki — and Washington.

Announcing the news, Russia’s Foreign Ministry cast the apparently imminent closure of the consulate by Oct. 1 as a response to the Finnish expulsion of Russian diplomats and Finland’s recently joining NATO.

“The parameters of Finland’s accession to NATO that are being discussed now pose a threat to security of the Russian Federation, and encouragement of the Kyiv regime to go to war and pumping it with Western weapons means obviously hostile actions against our country,” the Russian statement said.

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto

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